Why The Bishops Want A No, No

On Sunday, the Irish Bishops ordered that church pulpits be used for a direct political intervention. They called for a vote NO and NO in the referendum on March 8th.
They want to defend articles in the Irish constitution which were originally inserted at the behest of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in 1937.
McQuaid was an extreme conservative who opposed the idea of social rights. He wanted the Irish state to respect the ‘principle of subsidiarity’ which meant that social care would only be provided within the family.
This legacy still exists with us today as the Irish state does not guarantee social rights but instead funds voluntary charity organisations to give help.
In their missive, the Bishops claimed that the family arose from the ‘unchanging plan of God for humanity’. They implied that if it was not based on marriage, it could not be a real family.
Yet 42% of Irish children are born outside of marriage.
The Bishops also oppose the deletion of article 41.2 which asserts that ‘ the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved’.
The government’s proposal to replace this article with a promise that it will ‘strive to support’ care within the family is a disgrace. It comes from a neoliberal mindset that ironically builds on the legacy of McQuaid.
People Before Profit supports the removal of Article 41.2. But it is demanding that a new government holds a referendum with a new wording that will guarantee a social right of care for everyone regardless of their family situation.